Introducing: Dark Bells
by Jack Reid
Who Are Dark Bells? Dark Bells are a psychelica pair out of Australia that, for their second release, have signed to the London label, RIP (Record In Peace) Records. Having done so, they’ve heralded their arrival in the British Isles. They’ve played at London Field Day Festival, and Liverpool’s Festival of Psychedelica - to an incredible reception. The edgier side of the music press have lauded the band for their “ethereal sound”, a combination of “shoegaze and psychedelic influences” (The Quietus).
They’ve been making a splash in London’s live scene, supporting Savages, Django Django and Cloud Control. Over summer they’ve been playing more shows and working on their debut album. The first release from that album, Want is the subject of our review.
The New Single: Want Want, the new single from the band, is out on October 21st.
Dark Bells are, simply put, psychedelic darkness. They’re that feeling in the pit of your stomach before you keel over drunk on a pavement, they’re tired, fidgety discomfort. Behind a wall of guitar reverb, there’s a brutal simplicity to their riffs. In Want, this is taken even further.
After sitting down and blasting the track out, standing up and leaving my flat, I could still hear that high pitched guitar whine. Teneil’s vocals, embittered and unhappy, seemed to be be echoing out of the drains and gutters in the street all day long. There’s something about the dynamicism of those first two minutes that is a true earworm.
The game changer for this song comes after the two minute mark however. After what sounds like the end of a short and simple, high energy grunge song a string is plucked. This ushers in a minute and a half of psychedelic swirls and beautiful textures, constructed simply from guitars and percussion. At one point, a hispanic blues riff enters and builds in complexity in variation.
It’s almost easy to forget where the track started until suddenly, it all comes rushing back in a truly jarring transition. The vocal melodies have new melancholic variations as the song skitters out to a gritty finale.
This single is an incredibly strong and surprising turn. It will sit in my music library, gnashing its dirty teeth at all of the plunky indie tunes that I’m so susceptible to. Want is a single that can’t, and won’t be ignored.